President Andrew Johnson Essay, Research Paper
President Andrew Johnson as a Hero
When all think of a hero we immediatly think of someone who is strong,
intelligent, handsome and daring. Upon closer examination of a hero many
different qualities than these become apparent. Courage, honesty, bravery,
selflessness and the will to try are just a few of the overlooked qualities of
a hero. President Andrew Johnson, the only president to go through the impea-
chment process, was a hero because he embodied such heroic characteristics as
honesty, bravery, and intelligence.
Andrew Johnson began his executive career as Abraham Lincoln’s vice
president. The unfortunate assasination of President Abraham Lincoln is what
enabled Andrew Johnson to become our nation’s seventeenth president. Unable to
uphold the high standards set by Lincoln, a well educated lawyer and a presi-
dent who brought a victory in the Civil War, Andrew Johnson, a tailor by trade
realized he had to broaden his educational background. With great force Andrew
Johnson overcame his lack of education, by learning how to read, write, and do
arithmetic, with the aid of his wife.
After the Civil War the Republicans wanted to punish the southerners
for their part in the war, but like Lincoln, Johnson did not support them in
their plans. The radical republicans then plotted against their democratic
president by passing bills limiting the presidents powers. One example is the
Tenure of Office Act which stated that the president could not fire any of his
cabinet members without Senate’s approval. Johnson fired his Secretary of War,
Edwin Stanton. By doing this the republicans felt they had a case and could
impeach the president because of his willingness to go against Congress.
On February 24, 1868, the House of Representatives voted 126 to 47 to impeach
President Andrew Johnson. Over a period of two days eleven articles of
impeachment were adopted. Some of President Johnson’s charges included
violation of Tenure of Office Act, also known as Article 11, and conspiring
against the Constitution and Congress. During the impeachment trial one of
Johnson’s lawyers, wrote, on Johnsons behalf, “He is a man of few ideas, but
they are right and true, and he could suffer death sooner than yield up of
violate one of them.” (World Book Encyclopedia, 1990 edition, vol. 11)
The trial lasted three days, during this period of time in which Johnson’s
honesty and presidential actions were in question, he proved to be a man of
steel. He never showed emotions of panic, or dishonesty. He remained calm
and collected even while he was being accused of many outrageous things, one
even being that he was involved in the murder of Abraham Lincoln. On May 16
the Senate voted on the Eleventh Article, the vote turned out 35 guilty and 19
not guilty which aquitted Johnson by one vote. President Andrew Johnson had
been found innocent of all charges brought against him. It was then obvious
that the seventeenth president of the United States was a strong willed, and
brave man who had pulled through as a loyal presiden to his country.
After President Johnson completed his presidential term he did not let
the impeachment trials intimidate him. Instead in 1869 he plunged back into a
career of politics by running for US Senate, he lost by two votes. Friends and
supporters assured Johnson that bribary would change those two little votes.
Johnson, being a man of honesty did not even consider such a thing. In 1872
Johnson tried again, this time running for the US House of Representatives and
again he excepted defeat. Finally, in one last attempt, Johnson ran for State
Senate in 1875 and became the first president to hold an office after his
After all of the obsticles put in front of Andrew Johnson, the
impeachment trial and his lack of education, he never wavered from his beliefs.
After being accused of false actions he kept himself very calm stating only
the truth and never once losing his composure.